Tiso, Alpine and Blues staff are experts in their own fields. This comes from experience and a love of what they do, whether that be hill walking, running trails, rock climbing, or spending time on the water. Each Saturday we will be highlighting a different member of staff and talking to them about their outdoor journey. This week we're chatting to Kai Marron, the Deputy Manager at the new Alpine Edinburgh Marchmont store, who loves nothing more than riding his home roads when he can.
Which Alpine store have you worked in and where were you before?
I was in Australia before working for Alpine, working for Trek in retail and I'm a seasoned mechanic. I was previously Deputy Manager for Alpine Edinburgh (Stockbridge) but I'm just starting as Deputy Manager for the new Alpine store in Marchmont. It's a really exciting new project to be a part of.
What is your area of expertise that customers should approach you about in store?
I'm very techincally minded, I know most things about most bikes. In fact, I challenge you to find something that I don't know about bikes - though don't take that literally! But I know the ins and outs of all different standards and technical aspects of most bikes, including e-bikes. So I've got great technical knowledge to pass onto customers and to advise on the best maintenance and on living with your new best friend.
Where's your favourite place in Scotland to ride?
Home. So I grew up in Dumfries and Galloway around the rolling hills. It's beautiful down there, around Langholm and Eskdalemuir. Quiet B Roads where you're more likely to see sheep than cars and it's absolutely fantastic. I used to ride mountain bikes in and around this area. I then moved to road and then more recently to gravel. I find with Edinburgh roads, the 40mm tyres are an absolute lifesaver for that and I love my gravel bike for that.
Which bikes do you have in your shed?
I had to cut down for going overseas so I currently have a bike shed of one and it kills me! So I have a Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 (2020) and thankfully it's multifaceted. It'll do just about everything I want it to do and it's a gravel bike. Takes me on road, off road, and puts up with all the hammering that I give it. It's currently equipped with a number of upgrades including Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V carbon wheels which make things a little bit faster, more spritely. It's quicker up the hills and just a little bit more forgiving on the roads as well. They're a fantastic upgrade with excellent backup support from Trek as well. They run pretty wide tyres and are set up tubeless for extra confidence. I bought it in Australia and it's a colourway that wasn't released in the UK so it's completely unique to me in the UK as far as I'm aware.
Are there any outdoor activities you are really keen to try?
I really want to do more climbing. I've done loads of climbing already outdoors in New Zealand and Australia - Mount Rapoli was absolutely fantastic. I've sampled some of the local sites here including Limekilns and I'd just love to go and do some more outdoor bouldering. I think the next trip is going to be a bouldering site in Northumberland.
Who or what is your inspiration?
I find inspiration in everything! Even if it's a new bike, the new SRAM XPLR groupset is unfortunately going to have me spending money soon, I'm afraid! So inspiration can come from anywhere.